Finally you’ve been released from prison after serving a life sentence.

You’ve been bused to a small country town as part of a state-funded societal reintroduction program.

Will you fall back to your old tricks?

Rated R / 1,000 words / 4 minutes of nostalgic reading pleasure

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‘You have to ask yourself if there’s anything about us more important than the fact that we’re constantly on film, constantly watching ourselves.’ Don DeLillo



Copyright 2024 Stefano Boscutti
All Rights Reserved

After the sun slips below the horizon, the light silvers and slithers away.

It's your favourite time of day. The time between two worlds as shadows evaporate.

Much like your life at the moment. You've been out of prison for almost two weeks now. It’s an indescribable feeling, the freedom everybody takes for granted.

Once you’re incinerated - hah, I meant to say incarcerated although incinerated is actually a better word, a truer word - you don’t really exist. Your identity is taken from you. Everything is taken from you.

You’ve been walking along the twisted, interwoven streets of a small country town for days now. It’s one of those towns where they send people who’ve been let out of prison. 

A bus drops you off near the halfway house with a change of clothes and a hundred dollars on a cash card. It’s how you’re supposed to re-enter society, re-integrate. Blend in, be normal.

As if you can ever be normal again. If you weren’t mentally ill going into prison, you certainly would be by the time you got out. Spending time in solitary confinement changes your brain and personality, alters your mind forever.

You walk the streets because it distracts your mind, stops your thoughts from piling up. Keep moving, just keep moving.

A wind whips around you as dark clouds shudder and gather overhead. The light dulls and fades away.

You keep walking and walking, gravel crunching and sifting underfoot. Small cottages on wide lots are set back from the street. Small lives under silent eaves.

Something on the broken stones catches the last sliver of light. It’s a lean, long butcher knife. Worn wooden handle and hard, sharp blade that can carve out a heart just as easily as slash a neck from ear to bloody ear.

The wind blows your thoughts about. You try and grab them but they skip and slip and tumble.

The tangled tree branches reach forward, the leaves hush and whisper.

Your neck tightens, your fist clenches. Suddenly the knife is in your right hand.

You breathe very slowly, resigned to the next step you’re going to take.

You know it’s going to happen before it does. The light in a bedroom in a cottage flickers to life. You can see a woman’s body move behind the pale curtain.

Your fingers ache. They grip the wooden handle tight.

Then tighter still.

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Copyright 2024 Stefano Boscutti

All Rights Reserved

The moral rights of the author are asserted.

No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, digital, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or copying and pasting, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing..

Stefano Boscutti acknowledges the trademark owners of various products referenced in this work. The publication or use of these trademarks is not authorised or sponsored by the trademark owner.

This is a work of fiction. While many of the characters portrayed here have counterparts in the life and times of small country town, the characterisations and incidents presented are totally the products of the author’s unsettling imagination. This work is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It should not be resold or given away. Thank you for your support. (Couldn’t do it without you.)

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